File picture: Independent Media

Johannesburg - Yet another Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officer - the fourth in less than a month - has been shot dead by criminals during a robbery, the city said on Saturday.

"After having had to bury three of our JMPD officers in less than a month, I received the saddening call yesterday evening [Friday] informing me that yet another of our JMPD officers have been killed," mayoral committee member for public safety Michael Sun said.

The 47-year old part-time traffic warden, who was off-duty on Friday night and dressed in civilian clothing, witnessed an armed robbery near Busy Corner in Ivory Park. When he tried to intervene, the three armed robbers opened fire on him, shooting him in the arm and chest. He died on the scene, Sun said.

Immediately after the incident occurred, the acting regional JMPD commander called all officers on duty to barricade the area in search of the suspects. Unfortunately no arrests had been made, he said.

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba expressed anger and dismay at the incident: “I am bitterly disappointed and angered that yet another one of our officials have lost their lives while attempting to serve and protect.

"This is the fourth death in the JMPD in less than a month, and it must be stopped. I have called on provincial police commissioner Deliwe de Lange to assist in tracking down the suspects and bring the suspects to book. She has assured me that SAPS [South African Police Service] will do all in its power to ensure the perpetrators are found and held to account,” Mashaba said.

JMPD chief David Tembe had been asked to set up a task team consisting of all JMPD directors, and to call an urgent meeting with the SAPS to find a solution to the crisis, he said.

The department of public safety and Mashaba expressed deepest condolences to the family of the slain officer and would provide the necessary support to them and traumatised officials.

 African News Agency/ANA